Model Stitch, Sewing

New Horizons Niagara Top and Dress

I had the pleasure to be a part of my first sewing testing group! This was for the New Horizons Designs’ Niagara Top and Dress. Please excuse the lockdown hair that has now been tamed.

Here is the pattern description from New Horizon’s listing – Flowy and flattering are 2 things you’ll think wearing this! The Niagara Top & Dress will take you through all the seasons! Featuring a curved yoke line with a gathered bust for added ease in the front. But is also flattering as it skims your sides. Features options like sleeveless, short sleeves, elbow length sleeves, 3/4 sleeves and long sleeves, shirt length, tunic length, knee length dress! With or without the placket! Comes in sizes xx-small- 30. And in girls sizing 12-18m – 16.

This pattern came with a few firsts for me – using the burrito method, buttonholes, plackets and gathers! I have to say the instructions did a brilliant job walking me through the majority of those!

The pattern was no trim – I normally get A0 printed but obviously there are time commitments for these tests. It went together so easily! For both test fit and final version, I made the shirt length, crew neckline, high back and elbow length sleeves.

For my test fit, I used a navy viscose jersey from Textile 9 Fabrics. Definitely check them out, they do great prices on 2m/4m lengths of fabrics.

This is my upper bodice burrito! It was fairly east to do but it was a little trickier rolling the smaller length of the front bodice.

I didn’t add the buttonholes/buttons on this version just held the placket together with a safety pin. Before attaching the upper and lower bodice, I was concerned with just how revealing the neckline would be so thought it might tighten up a little when it’s all sewn together.

As you can see that didn’t happen so I asked for advice in the test group and someone had asked if I had ever measured or altered for shoulder width before. As I hadn’t, they very kindly sent me a link regarding that and other measuring techniques. It turns out for the drafting block of New Horizons Designs, I am a size 12-14 in shoulder width and 16 everywhere else.

So off I went for my next and final attempt. For this version I used a teal ITY which was also from Textile 9 Fabrics. Word of warning with ITY, it feels like a dream, sews like a dream but is likely to melt if you’re not careful with the iron. I didn’t know this so one upper bodice piece quickly disintegrated.

Again, please excuse the lockdown hair!

As you can see grading the shoulders helped a lot with the positioning of the neckline but still has room for improvement. I managed 2 out of 3 button holes, my machine just didn’t want to do that top button hole at all. I don’t know if it would work well that way but I think my machine would have preferred the button holes being done before the placket was attached to the top.

It was a challenge to myself to sew this top and I am really glad I did! I have started to pull apart the original test version to see if I can improve the fit and turn it into a wearable tester so you may see it again in the future!

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